Seventy-six populations of Heterodera glycines were collected from 33 counties in 10 states of the United States along the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers in 1992 and 1993. A sterile hyphomycete fungus of an unnamed taxon, designated ARF18 and shown to be a parasite of eggs of H. glycines, was isolated from eggs and cysts of 10 of the populations from Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee. Ten isolates of ARF18 obtained in this study and seven isolates obtained in earlier studies were characterized for cultural morphology on several growth media, the ability to produce sclerotium-like structures (SLS) on cornmeal agar, growth rates, pathogenicity to eggs of H. glycines in vitro, and mitochondrial (mt) DNA restriction fragment length polymorphisms (RFLPs). All 17 isolates of ARF18 readily grew on potato dextrose agar, cornmeal agar, and nutrient agar. Based on colony morphology and SLS appearance on cornmeal agar, the isolates could be grouped into two morphological phenotypes. Isolates that produced SLS that were composed of a compact mass of hyphae were designated ARF18-C, whereas isolates that produced SLS composed of a mass of loosely clumped hyphae were designated ARF18-L. Only minor differences in growth rates were detected among the ARF18-C and ARF18-L isolates. All 10 ARF18-C isolates, which were from Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee, belonged to a single mtDNA RFLP haplotype. The seven ARF18-L isolates shared many comigrating mtDNA restriction fragments with one another, but belonged to three distinct mtDNA RFLP haplotypes. Ability to infect eggs of H. glycines in vitro varied considerably among the various isolates of ARF18. In particular, several of the ARF18-C isolates were consistently able to infect over 50% (mean = 70.0%, standard deviation = 16%) of the eggs of H. glycines, whereas ARF18-L infected eggs to a lesser degree (mean = 25%, standard deviation = 27%). ARF18-C was isolated only from H. glycines populations from below 37° N latitude. The presence of ARF18 was associated with soils with Mg levels <314 kg/ha, cyst numbers >4.5 per 100 cm3, and iron levels >203.5 kg/ha; or with Mg levels >314 kg/ha and Na levels <121 kg/ha. The widespread distribution of ARF18 and the ability of some isolates to aggressively colonize eggs of H. glycines are indications that it has potential as a biological control agent for H. glycines.
soybean cyst nematode